DMCA Procedures: Cal Poly's Response to Copyright Infringement Claims

Cal Poly's Information Technology Services Policy Assurance Officer is the designated agent for receiving copyright infringement notices under the 1998 federal statute known as the Digital Millenium Copyright Act or DMCA.

Upon receipt of a valid DMCA notice, network access to the material will be disabled and will not be restored until the infringing materials are removed, the file sharing software is removed or disabled to prevent further distribution, and the user reaffirms their commitment to abide by Cal Poly's Information Technology Resources Responsible Use Policy.

Detailed Procedure

When a copyright infringement claim is received, Information Technology Services (ITS):

  1. Opens a confidential ticket to document the incident.
  2. Confirms that the infringing IP was in use at the reported time of the alleged infringement.
  3. Blocks the MAC address of the computer or the user id of the person logged in to that IP address at the time of the reported infringement. For materials stored on university servers, disable access to the materials, e.g., by blocking the account, etc.
  4. Notifies the copyright holder (or agent) via email that their claim is being handled and provides the Cal Poly case number.
  5. If the violation occurs on a personal computer, forwards the take-down notice and a notice of required actions to the user via email. The notice lists potential consequences for violating copyright and provides links to legal alternatives for obtaining digital content and links to FAQs about copyright infringement and peer-to-peer file sharing.
  6. If the violation occurs on a university computer, forwards the take-down notice and notice of required actions to the administrator via email.
  7. If a responsible party cannot be identified, the computer and/or access will remain blocked indefinitely.
  8. In addition to the above, users on the Cal Poly wireless network who are blocked for copyright infringement are automatically redirected to a copyright infringement notice page when they try to access the Internet.
  9. Users have the right the file a counter notice if they feel their use is legal or the complainant has misidentified the material. If a valid counter notice is received, Cal Poly will promptly notify the complainant and restore access to the material within 10 business days unless the complainant notifies the university that they have taken appropriate legal action to stop the infringement.
  10. Repeat infringers are referred to the appropriate university authority for potential disciplinary action in accordance with campus policies and procedures, e.g., for students, the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities will be contacted.

Once the user confirms in writing that the required actions have been completed or provides proof that they were not responsible for the infringement, ITS will

  1. Unblock the MAC or user id and notify the user via email that their access is restored;
  2. Notify the complainant via email that the matter has been resolved; and
  3. Update and resolve the confidential ticket.

For violations traced to Cal Poly's Residence Hall networks, ITS creates a ticket and forwards the take-down notice to ResNET staff to identify and block the user id on that network. The student is redirected to a page advising them that their access has been blocked because of a policy violation. Judicial proceedings are initiated within University Housing. When the judicial review and any resulting action is completed, ResNET staff verify that the infringing content has been removed and restore the user's access. ResNET notifies ITS who in turn notifies the complainant that the matter has been resolved and closes the ticket.

RIAA Pre-Litigation Letters

In February 2007, the Recording Industry of America (RIAA) announced a new strategy for dealing with suspected instances of copyright infringement. The RIAA is sending "settlement letters" to colleges indicating their intention to sue users of systems engaged in illegal file sharing and asking colleges to forward those letters to users.

The letters inform users that they can avoid lawsuits by immediately contacting the RIAA and paying settlement fees. If users decline to do this, subpoenas will be sought to require colleges to disclose users' identities. Lawsuits will then be filed. Users may, at that time, avoid a lawsuit by paying settlement fees larger than the original settlement amount. If users again decline, lawsuits will be pursued to obtain damages and recover RIAA legal fees.

In the event that Cal Poly receives a settlement letter, Information Technology Services will treat the letter as a DMCA copyright infringement claim and respond as per Cal Poly's DMCA response guidelines, i.e., forward the pre-litigation letter to the user. Cal Poly will not disclose the identity of a user unless presented with a subpoena or other legally valid writ.

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